[If you want to read a column about the State of the Union Address or Gunther, turn to someone else’s column. To continue your participation in the unfolding of this revolutionary Choose My Own Adventure Sikdar-Style Column please see: paragraph below.]
To those of you who are still with me: Welcome.
The rules of this column are simple. You are going to go through and Choose-My-Own-Adventure. At various points there will be important life choices for you to make for me. You will make a wise decision, I’m sure, and then follow the instructions to the see how your choice ends up working out for me. At the end of it all, I’ll be dead, so don’t worry, you can’t f– up my fictional life too badly.
I thought about saving something cute like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure for a graduation column. Then I remembered that I’m selfish and don’t really care what you choose for yourself — it’s me that I’m concerned with.
Let us begin:
After Graduation I will pack up all my shit and migrate from this place — sherpa style. Post-Yale I will be faced with a choice between an I-Banking-like gig in New York or Keeping my soul in exchange for uninsured unemployment. [If you wish to see me Bank: see #2. If you wish to see me Unemployed: see #3]
# 2 — I Banking: No. Not even in a fictional rendering of my life, over which I have no control, will I allow you to make me an I-Banker. So let’s say that I get a “White Person NY Job with Health Insurance and a Dress Code Banning Ethnic Attire.” After seven years I have excelled at perpetuating the divide between rich and poor. Before turning 30, I decide that it is time for me to leave with my fistfuls of cash and either forsake Corporate American or get my MBA. [Forsake the God of Greed: see #4. MBA, here I come: see #5]
#3 — Uninsured & Unemployed: I sit in my parents’ basement for a spell — shut away from the sun and all other human interaction. Approximately a year later I realize that I’ve become just like my trifling ex-boyfriend and I either run off to an organic commune in Mexico or go mad. [Commune in Mexico: see #6. Go Out My Damn Mind: see #7]
#4 — Forsake Corporate Comfort: With my wads of cash I pack up and shake my ass out to Seattle where I live an alternative lifestyle with my soul mate Loryn. After adopting ourselves a gaggle of beautiful ethnic babies, I realize my true calling is to either write or assist women in rural areas of India in creating economic collectives. [Selfish Yet Satisfied Writer: see #8. Selfless Yet Brangelina Beat Me To It International Aide: see #9.]
#5 — M.B.A., like mother-f*cker: While getting my M.B.A. I meet the man of every girl’s dreams. I stop going in the sun, Japanese Pin-straighten my hair and begin to pass as white. Shortly after graduation I walk down the aisle and become Mrs. Lawrence Plaidpants Esq. the III. I start popping out babies faster than that Seventh-Heaven-slut-of-a-minister’s-wife. In our early 40s we have to decide between purchasing a small spread on Nantucket or keeping it low key with an estate on the Vineyard. [The Family Plaidpants can not deny our Pink Pants aspirations, Nantucket it is: see #12. Black Dog Vineyard Sticker on the SUV, not even a question: see #13.]
#6 — Commune in Mexico: While farming edamame I meet a tall, dark and handsome stranger. After ravaging one another among the rows of ripening soy beans the stranger asks me to run away with him. What to do? [Leave the dirty, patchouli oil, soybean harvesting hippies for My Stranger: see #10. Commitment issues rear their ugly head and I tell the Stranger to, “stop trying to colonize my soul!” and I stick with the soybeans: see #11.]
#7 — Lose My Damn Mind: Once my sanity unravels I stop eating and begin to wander around my basement chattering incessantly to myself about the institutionalized abstraction of the body in pain and the crippling burden of a great potential. My parents’ beg Julia (my college wifey) to take me off their hands. Julia and her family care for me for the rest of my life. I become the mad colored woman in the attic in a very Jane Eyre/ Wide Sargasso Sea literary twist of fate. [Go to end]
#8 — Selfish Writer: All roads of success for women of color lead to … OPRAH. While on her yellow couch — talking about either my wildly successful ‘fictional memoir’ or my Peace Prize nomination — I pick a fight with her because she was not interested in optioning the movie rights to the story of my life. After an awkward on-air confrontation she has Dr. Phil ‘take care of me.’ [Go to end]
# 9 — Selfless Aide Organizer: see # 8 above.
#10 — Stranger and I Run Off: Ned and I (what? You assumed the tall, dark, handsome stranger was a ‘native’? — you freaking racist) make a life for ourselves in a blue casita on the Caribbean Coast of Belize. We open up an Internet café and scone shop. Though my babies are pasty and white, the tropical sun bakes them brown — thus enabling me to love them. While our children are still young Ned dies in a freak Moped accident. Now I have to decide to keep the scone shop or return to the U.S. with my brood of faux-brown babies. [Keep babies in Belize: see #14. Back to the U.S.: see # 15.]
#11 — Life w/o The Stranger: One afternoon while swimming in the ocean and meditating on the way in which my fear of intimacy has left me alone in the world, with nothing except edamame (which tastes like shit, let’s just admit it), I am taken captive by a yacht of Aryan Pirates. These ruthless WASPS armed with martinis and tiny white tennis shorts try to ‘civilize’ me during my period of indentured servitude. After several years, I can not take their terrible senses of humor any longer and I throw myself overboard and drown. [Go to end]
#12 — Nantucket Red: see # 13 below.
#13 — Martha’s Vineyard: I die in a freak oven accident — due to a faulty gas line in the new beach house — while baking cupcakes. [Go to end]
#14 — Babies in Belize: My children grow up to deeply resent what they view as my irresponsible and childish life choices. To spite me, they go to Yale. [see #16.]
#15 — Back to U.S. with the Bastards: Back in New York (living in Julia’s basement), the long winters and sunlight deprivation bring out the true color of my children … white. I sink into deep despair and my children come to resent me for emotionally abandoning them. They are reared and deeply loved by their Auntie Julia and go on to attend Yale University. [see #16]
#16 — My Children At Yale: They become fascist yuppies who will work for a Washington Lobby Group that promotes the pumping of oil directly into rivers — just because they can. [Go to end]
See, wasn’t that such fun! For those of you who really cannot get enough of my column, now you can re-read and take my life on a whole different path. I hope this shows you the unlimited possibilities you have to mess with my future.
Jana Sikdar is unnerved by Yallies who plan every minute detail of the rest of their lives. She’ll be living one day at a time in Belize.